Day four of this year's Twelve Days of Christmas - whatever I want - is a most glorious chocolate mint cheesecake.
This chocolate mint cheesecake is everything you expect in a cheesecake, rich, dense AF and full of chocolate. If that isn't enough for you, I drizzle the cake with a fudge sauce AND THEN add some more fudge sauce when I serve it.
Oh yeah...and also it has a brownie crust. Did you die yet?? And before you roll your eyes at the amount of work involved here...YES YOU CAN USE BOXED MIX. I didn't use box mix I used this recipe (minus the toppings in the recipe). But keep in mind, you will only use about ⅓ of the prepared batter for one cheesecake. Make brownie bites with the rest 🙂
Hopefully not, so you can make this for your holiday.
How to make the perfect cheesecake.
So for most of my life making cheesecake scared me. It always seemed like such a process and a lot of ingredients and I HATE WATER BATHS.
But over the years I have developed a sort of obsessiveness over getting them just right. And by just right I mean no cracks, no soggy crust from the water bath, no big ole brown spots on top.
It took me until this year and a great tip from one of my very best friends to get a cheesecake that is truly what I think is perfect.
Tip 1 - Make sure all ingredients are room temperature
This is a big one that took me a while to realize was important. I mean, the cream cheese being room temperature is kind of a given, so what I am really getting at is the eggs. Do not use cold eggs, you will end up with little bits of unmixed cream cheese in your cheesecake because the cold eggs will make the cheesecake cod and not blend in with everything else.
For this chocolate mint cheesecake, you will use melted chocolate which will help with the incorporation of all the ingredients because it will be warm.
Tip 2 - Really beat a lot of air into the cream cheese first
This is a personal preference, I think it makes cheesecakes lighter and airier, which is a texture I prefer. I always beat the cream cheese for like three minutes before adding the sugar and eggs. And when I add the sugar and eggs, I beat really well for another few minutes.
Tip 3 - make sure your crust is totally cooled.
Most crusts, like this one, require a little pre bake, and if you don't cool it the bottom of the cheesecake will be drier.
Tip 4 - Bake at a lower temperature for longer.
This will help with the cracks that so many cheesecakes get. No matter what the recipe calls for, I always bake cheesecakes at 325.
Tip 5 - Use a steam tray NOT a water bath.
No matter how much foil I wrapped around my springform pan water seeped in and gave my cheesecakes a soggy crust. I was telling this to one of my bffs one day and she gave me this tip. She said she uses a steam tray on the rack below the cheesecake instead of placing the whole cake in a water bath. She said this still gave the cheesecake the light and moist texture everyone loves - and she was absolutely right. This tip was a game changer for me and if you are already a cheesecake baker, I think you should try this out and see if it doesn't make a difference in the texture of your crust.
Last tip - after 50 minutes of cooking, turn off the oven, crack open the door a bit and let the cheesecake cool inside the oven for at least one hour.
This prevents a major sunken center, and cracks, and couldn't be easier.
These are tips for all cheesecake making, not just this chocolate mint cheesecake. I hope this helps you to make a perfect cheesecake, no matter what kind.
Chocolate mint cheesecake
For the crust
- Brownie mix or favorite brownie recipe - approximately ⅓ of the prepared batter
For the cheesecake
- 4 packages of cream cheese room temperature
- 10 ounces of chopped bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
- 1 cup of sugar
- ⅓ cup of cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 4 eggs room temperature
For the fudge sauce (you can easily use store-bought as well)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup heavy or whipping cream
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chopped or use ½ cup of bitter or semi sweet chocolate chips
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- To make the fudge sauce, combine the butter, cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, cocoa, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low, stirring, for 3 to 5 more minutes after everything has melted, then remove from heat and stir in the chocolate. Stir in vanilla.
- For the crust, heat oven to 350and lightly spray the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap the bottom in foil (in case some of the brownie batter seeps out.
- Pour roughly ⅓ of the batter into the pan and spread out evenly. You don't want a huge crust, this recipe is about the cheesecake more than the brownie. Bake the crust for about 15-20 minutes. You want it to be basically just baked, but not raw in the center. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- Turn the oven down to 325.
- Boil a pot of water. Place a large metal baking dish or a catering half pan, on the bottom rack in the oven, and make sure you have a rack for the cheesecake in the middle of the oven. Take your boiling water and CAREFULLY pour it into the dish on the bottom rack of the oven and close the oven right away.
- To make the cheesecake, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, stirring occasionally until all the chocolate is melted (basically a double boiler).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if you are using a hand mixer), beat with the whisk attachment the cream cheese for a good three minutes until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for another two minutes. Beat in the cocoa powder (do this on low so it doesn't blow all over) and the peppermint extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg. With the mixer going, add the melted chocolate and beat until incorporated and smooth.
- Pour the filling into springform, it will be really high.
- Bake on middle rack for 50 minutes, keeping the oven closed as much as possible (resist the urge to peek). Turn off the oven, and crack it open. Let cheesecake cool down in oven for at least an hour, or up to three hours. Finish cooling at room temperature, and then refrigerate until serving. Drizzle with your the hot fudge sauce when cold and serve extra at the table.